Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cheering on Young Adult Literature (YAL)... Interview with Local Author Bryna Butler

Two weeks ago we celebrated National Library Week (NLW), an annual event acknowledging the important role libraries and librarians play in enhancing their communities.

Sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries throughout the United States, the observance of NLW each year also includes special celebration days held within the week to highlight different aspects of the types of library services and programs available.

For example, National Library Workers Day (NLWD)—See our 4.10.12 blog posting!—most often takes place on the Tuesday of NLW.  It was established to show public appreciation for the efforts put forth by all library employees and volunteers to ensure free access to information and to produce positive educational and recreational experiences for library users.

Then, National Bookmobile Day, which usually takes place on Wednesday during NLW, was created to promote awareness of the valuable outreach services libraries provide.

And finally, Thursday of NLW is generally known as “Support Teen Literature Day.”   It is a time when library services to teenagers are advocated.  It is also a time when Young Adult Literature (YAL) is recognized for its value in helping to promote a love of reading and life-long learning for all ages as many of these types of works have a “crossover appeal” and are enjoyed too by both younger and older readers.  Hey, they are not just for teens!

Since we like to think of every week as NLW… why celebrate libraries just once a year?!  We decided not to limit our cheers for YAL to just one day either.  So, in praise of this vibrant and growing literary genre, we are featuring here an interview with Bryna Butler, a University of Rio Grande (URG) alumna and author of some new and popular young adult fiction books known as the Midnight Guardian Series.

What inspired you to begin writing the Midnight Guardian Series? 
The idea came to me on a commute into Gallipolis. I find the river, our beautiful rural fields, and our small town quirkiness to be very inspiring.
What sorts of books did you enjoy reading as a young adult? 
Yeah, well, I didn't really read much as a teen or as an early 20-something. However, that all changed when my first son was born in 2001.  I found myself, a person who was a professional workaholic, suddenly twiddling my thumbs over a sleeping baby desperate for something...anything to do.  My mother told me about a series of kids’ books that she was reading and she very highly recommended them.  I was extremely skeptical.  Kids’ books, right?  She wouldn't take "no" for an answer and so she brought me the first one, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.  It was the start of my love affair with fiction novels.

What books are your favorite today? 
I read a lot of non-fiction at work, so at home I keep it strictly light and fun, nothing “intellectual.”  I prefer paranormal and mysteries.  I enjoy Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire series—aka Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood.  I was a fan before the books hit HBO.  I am also looking forward to the next in Rachel Caine's Morganville series and the Mercedes Thompson series by Patricia Briggs.  My top non-fiction pick would have to be Michael J. Fox's A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future.
What do you love most about being an author? 
The best part is when someone stops me on the street to share their excitement on how a plot twist shocked them or to beg me to tell them what is going to happen next to their favorite character.  A reader's enthusiasm makes me smile every time.
How have your educational experiences helped you in achieving your career goals? 
I earned a bachelor's in Mass Communication from URG.  In fact, my first professional writing gig was as a reporter and assistant editor of the Signals, Rio’s [student] newspaper.  Even more than the book learning, I think that the practical experience that Rio provided me was invaluable and gave me a definite advantage in the job market.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? 
There is no such thing as over-proofreading a manuscript.
Are you interested in speaking to teacher, librarian, school or other groups about your books and work as an author?  If so, how may such parties contact you?
I am available to speak to classes or groups. The best way to contact me is by emailing swancrestpublishing@gmail.com. You can usually find my upcoming events on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AuthorBrynaButler or on my blog http://brynabutler.wordpress.com.

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